Sunday, July 1, 2018
Diarrhea In Mini Pigs
Diarrhea is a condition in which feces are discharged from the bowels frequently and in a liquid form.
E. coli is the most common cause of piglet diarrhea identified by diagnostic laboratories and veterinary practitioners.
E. coli also produces enterotoxins that affect the intestines of pigs causing a secretory diarrhea. These enterotoxins can cause significant death loss and are responsible for most of the pathogenic problems associated with E. coli diarrhea.
Scours, or diarrhea, are the excretion of feces containing excess fluid. There can be a variety of causes, and therefore a multifaceted approach to prevention is necessary. Piglets are particularly vulnerable to scours as their digestive system is still immature and an upset is more easily triggered.
New born piglets will have a dark stool to start with. This is the old stuff from before they were born that must come out. At about three days it will be more yellow. This also is normal. What you don't want to see is a clear liquid stool (more felt than seen). This is why we run our hand over the butt every day to make sure it is dry. Nothing will kill a baby pig any quicker than bad diarrhea. They dehydrate quickly and by feeding more you are feeding the E. coli which produces the diarrhea. For now just know that if that diarrhea starts, get to a vet for an antibiotic as soon as possible.
It is essential that the newborn piglets drink sufficient colostrum soon after birth to prevent potentially pathogenic organisms multiplying against the intestinal wall and causing diarrhea. It is also essential that the piglet continues to drink milk regularly after the colostrum has gone so that its intestines continue to be lined by protective antibodies.
Ideally the piglet should be left with mom to avoid any problems. Antibodies from the sow in the form of colostrum are important in preventing scours. Therefore, ensuring that all piglets are suckling well in the first three days of life is very important. Those taken away for whatever reason should be fed a proprietary sows milk replacer. This can be bought from most animal health stores. An alternative is to use a goats (kid) milk replacer. Cows milk is not ideal for a new born piglet as it will find it difficult to digest.
You warm it just as you would for a baby. A baby pig won't take much at one time so they need to be fed often when very young. (By very young we mean a few days up to a week.) At a week old they can do quite well on a feeding of every 3 or 4 hours during the day. At one week you no longer need to be fed through the night, make the last feeding around midnight and the first feeding at about 7 or 8 am. It's important to make the formula as close to the same each time as possible. Also to make sure all utensils are clean along with the dish you give it in.
Most replacer milks tell you that it is only good made up for 12 hours. Pay attention as old formula can cause you a problem. You should never change formulas as this can cause diarrhea which can take a piglet down very quickly.
Start adding Gerber's rice baby cereal at about three days, making it very liquid at first then gradually increasing the cereal as you go along. At about two weeks it will be a more of a paste. (At that time we also offer just a little water during the day.) The cereal not only gives them more nutrition, but it also keeps the chance of diarrhea down.
Baby pigs don't need an iron shot. Sometimes the iron shot can set off the diarrhea that we are trying to avoid. It is true that all baby pigs are born anemic and they do not get iron from the mother. There is a natural way to give this to them that is much safer and better for them.
Baby pigs born outside don't need iron as they get it from the dirt as they go along. If you supply a flat cookie sheet of clean dirt (dirt that has not had pigs on it) then he will walk through it and snuffle it and get his own iron from it. If it has tufts of grass in it, all the better as he will enjoy rooting them around the pan. The less you put into this baby that isn't necessary the better off he will be. No extras till he hits an age that is safe.
While is it important to get piglets eating feed, it must be remembered that their digestive systems are immature and better suited to consuming milk. Diets should contain easily-digestible ingredients, and changes to the composition should be minimized. Undigested feed in the gut creates a breeding ground for pathogens, particularly E. coli.
Treatment: Antibiotics (preferably liquid from your vet), Provide electrolytes (Pedialyte)in drinkers. These prevent dehydration and maintain body electrolyte balances. Keep piglets warm...the ideal temperature is 90 degrees.
Whatever you do if you change formulas...DO IT SLOWLY...by mixing them together little by little till you have the piglet switched.
Another suggestion is the old stand by with us. Make the formula a little thicker and weaker. Add a little more water than the formula calls for when you mix it and then add Gerber's Rice Baby Cereal. The rice cereal seems to do wonders for firming up stools.